Nothing sours a dream vacation more than a horrible ride home. And that couldn’t have been truer for the passengers on British Airways Flight 2036 out of Orlando.
According to The BBC, the flight from Orlando to London Gatwick airport typically takes about eight hours. However, Thursday’s flight didn’t land until Sunday, making the trip an excruciating 77 hours of airport hell.
Here’s how it went down: On Thursday, passengers boarded the flight per usual, but ended up waiting on the tarmac for four hours due to technical repairs, The BBC reported. The passengers were then forced to deplane and stay in a nearby hotel. And this was only the beginning of the chaos.
Passenger Sarah Wilson, who spent two weeks at Disney World with her family before the ill-fated trip home, told The BBC that their shuttle back to the airport was delayed twice. It wasn’t until 1:00 a.m. local time on Saturday that they once again boarded a flight bound for Gatwick.
But then, technical problems struck again, and the plane was diverted to John F. Kennedy airport in New York City, much to the dismay of the passengers.
Since the past weekend also marked the 2018 New York City Marathon, hotels were booked, forcing many passengers to spend the long layover at JFK sleeping in Terminal 7. Those who did find hotel rooms had to pay out of pocket, The BBC explained.
Many passengers shared photos and tweets, often frustrated and angry at the airline for its lack of support.
Eventually, passengers were able to board their final flight on Saturday evening to London Gatwick, this time without any problems. Still, the mental and physical damage had been done.
“Their communication with the passengers - most of whom were beside themselves by the end - was non-existent. So much so they put on food for us eventually in the BA business lounge at JFK on Saturday evening but didn't tell anyone. We only found out by luck but most of the passengers didn't know,” Wilson shared with The BBC.
British Airways apologized to passengers and said in a statement that the diverted flight to New York was “a precaution, following a minor technical issue.” The airline added that it “appreciated that this was an exhausting and frustrating experience.”